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Feminicide in Ecuador generates xenophobia and hard control for Venezuelans

A femicide in Ecuador involving a Venezuelan has sparked violence against people of that nationality who led the government to make a call to try to extract samples of xenophobia, but also to adopt more stringent immigration measures.

The murder of an Ecuadorian woman on Saturday in Ibarra (north) has sparked the fact that sectors of the population have evicted Venezuelans from hotels, houses and parks where they slept and asked to leave the city, the main step towards interior of Ecuador, according to national media.

"The aggressor, in this case, is a foreign citizen, which could lead to a generalization that will only bring more violence," said Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner on Monday.

The official – of German and Lebanese descent – asked the population on radio and television "to act with others as we would like them to recite with us".

However, it has also announced new provisions for Venezuelans entering their country.

"From today and in view of the fact that the Venezuelan government has separated its country from the Andean community, for all its citizens will be required the presentation of the apostille of the judicial past," he said.

Before the Venezuelan diaspora, Quito barely needed ID to let them in.

– "Fascist persecution" –

Meanwhile, the government of Nicolás Maduro has accused Ecuador of encouraging the persecution of the Venezuelans.

"President Lenin Moreno and his government have instigated a fascist persecution against the Venezuelans in Ecuador, and we hold them responsible for the security and integrity of our compatriots," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote on Twitter.

As they did on the eve of the mass, the feminist groups will be mobilized on Monday afternoon in the Ecuadorian capital against violence against women.

The urban sectors of Ibarra have also been called by social networks to march in that city, where the government has deployed more police forces.

Authorities estimate that about 300,000 Venezuelans who have fled their nation's political and economic crisis are currently living in Ecuador. Between 2014 and 2018 over 1.2 million entered, according to the Foreign Ministry, which granted about 97,000 visas to signatories of this nationality.

Venezuelan associations in Ecuador have expressed their dissatisfaction with phobic gestures.

"We categorically reject any kind of xenophobia or discrimination that may arise from events in Ibarra," they said in a statement.

The president of the Fundación Venezolanos in the Exterior, Eduardo Febres Cordero, denounced in Quito that the events of Ibarra would leave four Venezuelans dead, while in the rest of the country 82 would have been wounded.

However, the police reported that "there are no Venezuelan citizens killed or injured because of altercations" and that the personnel in uniform perform "permanent checks to protect the safety of citizens".

– Without Venezuelan data –

Sunday, on Twitter, Moreno declared that "Ecuador is and will be a country of peace, I will not allow any antisocial to take it away from us".

For the Venezuelans "we have opened the doors to them, but we will not sacrifice the safety of anyone", added the president, who since Monday attended the Davos forum.

At the same time, he announced the formation of "brigades to control the legal situation of Venezuelan immigrants" and stated that "the possibility of creating a special permit to enter the country" is analyzed for those foreigners.

Sonnenholzner added on Monday that immigration controls will be "strengthened" through a register to learn more about the situation of Venezuelans in Ecuador.

"Without generalizations, but with a firm hand, today we must distinguish between the Venezuelans fleeing from the government of Maduro and others who take advantage of this situation to commit a crime," said the vice-president.

He claimed that his government has exhausted all efforts, but that "Venezuela refuses to provide databases that allow us to verify the information of those arriving in the country."

The crime at Ibarra occurred when the man held his partner by the neck and stabbed him while he was surrounded by several police officers who pointed his guns at him and who did not act to avoid the femicide in the street.

The vice president said that the police who came to the woman's request for help "could not take action to save his life", so there will be sanctions for the in-chief inmate of "inaction".

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